Attorney General Jack Conway argues case before KY Supreme Court - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Attorney General Jack Conway argues case before Ky. Supreme Court for first time

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HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (WDRB) -- Does the Kentucky Attorney General's office have the authority to go after drug dealers and other criminal suspects?

That question is so important that Attorney General Jack Conway argued the case himself before Kentucky's Highest Court on Thursday.

The State Supreme Court came to Northern Kentucky University to hear the case that could affect law enforcement across the entire state.

The justices convened at the NKU's Chase College of Law, so the audience was much larger than for the usual hearing.

"We ask here today for you to restore our rightful authority to investigate criminal actions," Conway argued.

At issue, whether his office has the authority to go after criminal suspects on its own, without first being invited by local officials.

"When there's a matter that's that fundamental to our authority and to the functioning of law enforcement in Kentucky, I thought it was important enough for me to argue it personally," Conway told WDRB in an interview.

The case centers around Floyd Grover Johnson of Powell County.

Last year, the Appeals Court threw out his conviction for trafficking drugs, agreeing with his attorney, Emily Rhorer, that Conway's office did not have jurisdiction to pursue the case.

"What this case today is about is Floyd Johnson and whether the office of Attorney General could investigate crimes in Powell County. And we believe that they can't," Rhorer argued before the justices.

But the justices seemed skeptical, peppering Rhorer with questions and comments.

"Why would the chief law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth have to wait to be asked?" inquired Justice Lizbeth Hughes Abramson.

"That's like telling the fox that I'm going to come to see if there's any feathers around the chicken coop," said JusticeWill Scott.

"What if no one invites the Attorney General in his or her entire term?" asked Justice Mary Noble.

"That would be a good term," Rhorer responded.

"Or an extreme waste of taxpayer money," countered Noble.

"I don't want to prejudge them," said Conway after the hearing. "But I hope they come to what we feel is the right conclusion."

A decision is not expected until early next year.

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